Getting better grades can seem like a daunting task. It might take some effort, but there are steps you can take to meet your full potential. Start by believing in yourself and developing an optimistic attitude. Take notes in class and study a little every day instead of cramming. If you need extra help, don’t hesitate to ask your teacher or try to find a tutor. Stay organized, keep track of your due dates, and avoid putting things off until the last minute. Maintaining your health is essential to academic success, so eat nutritious meals, get plenty of sleep, and exercise daily.
EditMaking the Most of Class Time
- Encourage yourself. It’s easy to get down on yourself if you’re not doing so great in school. However, the first step to getting better grades is to be optimistic. Acknowledge that there’s some room for improvement, but tell yourself you have the power to achieve better grades.
- Instead of thinking to yourself, “I’m a failure and I’m just not a good student,” tell yourself, “With a little effort, I can and will do better!”
- You could also try saying your name and “you” instead of “I.” Say to yourself, “Sam, you can do this! If you stay focused on your work, you can achieve your goals!” Pumping yourself up like this can be a more powerful motivator.
- Pay attention and participate in class. Do your assigned reading, and if anything confused you, come up with questions you could ask during class. When your teacher asks a question, raise your hand to offer an answer.
- Asking and answering questions instead of dozing off will show your teacher that you care about school. You’ll improve your participation grade, and they might be more responsive if you ask for extra help.
- If you’re naturally shy, it might be tough to participate in class. Take a breath, relax, and do your best not to worry about what other people think. If it helps you stay on track, try writing down questions you could ask in class in advance.
- Take clear notes by hand. Try to take notes as thoroughly and legibly as possible. While you want to be thorough, summarize the lecture instead of copying it verbatim. Use abbreviations and key words instead of full sentences so you can keep up with your teacher. Skip lines so it’s easier to read your notes later, and try to keep information organized with section headings and bullet points.
- For instance, if your history teacher was talking about the House of Lancaster, then moves on to the House of York, start a new section in your notes. Use stars, Roman numerals, or any outline system that works for you.
- Handwriting notes instead of typing will help you absorb information better.
- After class or during a free period, compare notes with a friend to make sure you didn’t miss any key details.
- Get extra help from your teacher or a tutor. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. If a particular lesson makes your head spin, ask your teacher to help you break down the information after class.
- You could also see if your school offers a peer tutoring program. If all else fails, try talking to your parents about getting a private tutor.
EditFocusing on Your Homework
- Remove all distractions while studying. Find a quiet spot away from your household’s hustle and bustle to study or do homework. Put your phone in a drawer or otherwise out of sight so you won’t be tempted to check it.
- Some people focus better when they listen to music. If it helps you sink into your studies, try putting on some classical or instrumental tunes.
- Take a break after 45 minutes. Your brain can only stay focused for so long. Take 15 minutes to get up, stretch, go to the bathroom, get a snack, or another activity that gives your brain a rest.
- Try to schedule regular breaks between assignments or sections instead of just getting up in the middle of doing a homework problem.
- Take notes as you read. Keep your notebook handy when you do your assigned reading. Make a rough outline of the textbook chapter by writing the section heading, summarizing the main ideas, and defining key concepts. You’ll be better prepared for class, and you’ll appreciate your notes when it’s time to study for the big test.
- Highlighting or underlining as you read isn’t a very effective technique. It’s one thing to only highlight a section’s thesis, or its one major argument. However, coloring a bunch of text throughout the section won’t help you retain information.
- Start a study group. A study group can help you and your friends stay focused and motivate each other. Further, everyone learns and picks up information differently. Someone might get a concept that’s giving you trouble, and you might be able to help another student with a tough topic.
- Ask 3 or 4 classmates to set up a group study time after school, on the weekends, or during a free period.
- Keep your notes, assignments, and work space organized. Set yourself up for success by using one notebook or binder per class. When you sit down to work at home, choose a spot where you can stay focused and organized, like a big table or desk, instead of a sofa or bed.
- Use a planner to organize your time. Write down due dates and test days as soon as they’re assigned. In addition to school work, you might have important dates related to clubs, sports, or other activities. Use your planner to help you keep track of all academic and extracurricular responsibilities.
- If you have a big game the day after a term paper is due, you can break up the assignment into smaller chunks. Work on outlines and drafts in the weeks prior to the due date. If you don’t use a planner and lose track of time, trying to prepare for the game and finish your paper in the same week might get overwhelming.
- Create a study schedule instead of cramming. Cramming increases stress and makes it more difficult for your brain to absorb information. Instead of cramming the night before a big test, study one chapter early in the week then, the next day, review it and study the next. Add and review each piece gradually to build up the entire test unit.
- Suppose you have 3 tests on Friday. Cramming on Thursday night would set yourself up for failure. Instead, break up the test material into sections, and give yourself plenty of time during the week to study one section at a time.
- Avoid putting off assignments until the last minute. Like cramming, procrastination only leads to stress. Even if you have a few days to complete an assignment, finish it as soon as possible to keep your workload in check.
- For instance, your teacher might assign something on Tuesday that’s not due until Friday. Putting it off until the night before will give you a homework-free night on Wednesday. However, you also have a test on Friday, so doubling up your workload Thursday night isn’t worth it.
EditTaking Care of Yourself
- Eat nutritious meals. Your brain needs lots of energy to stay at peak performance. Make sure it gets the fuel it needs by eating your daily required servings of proteins, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and grains.
- Breakfast is especially important, so have a bowl of fortified cereal or a cup of Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts before school.
- Get a good night’s sleep. It’s tempting to stay up all night texting your best friend or crush, but a lack of sleep is terrible for your grades. Try to stick to a normal sleep schedule, go to bed early, and aim for 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night.
- If necessary, you could catch some extra shuteye on the weekends, but do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day.
- Exercise at least a half hour per day. Physical activity can help students improve their grades. If you don’t play a sport or have gym class every day, set aside 30 minutes after school for a walk, jog, or bike ride.
- Walking and running also help spur creativity. If you’re trying to come up with a good essay topic, mull it over while you go for a walk.
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